Topic Ghost Story Contest
To help celebrate Halloween, let's have a haunted story contest. It can be in or out of WoW. Something Halloweenie.
Word limit 2,000.
Deadline, the blood moon on October 29.
Prizes awarded October 31.
Nothing too explicit, we don't want anyone to get reported.
Grand prize will be 5,000 gold.
Second prize 2,500 gold
Third prize an embersilk bag to put all your trick or treat goodies in.
Edited by Drunhilde on 10/9/12 1:49 PM (PDT)
This may seem a tale of two sisters, but I assure you dear reader.. its more of a tale on what often lurks unnoticed.
Born and raised in Gilneas.
Shellonyia and her sister Solanice lived happily within a large family.
Three younger brothers, several aunts & uncles.. countless cousins.
Their parents were skilled at leather working and the herbalism trades. They did not lack for any of the necessities of life.
The city's strong walls protected them from outside threats of horde.
Darius Crowley had made the news that year by being imprisoned for trying to start a civil war.
And then it seemed only a matter of days when townspeople started disappearing..
Mournful howls carried throughout the nights, as townspeople rushed indoors at the slightest hint of darkness. The shops closed early as to be ready for mandated curfews
It didn't stop there - Soon news was being spread of murders..not just one or two, but some nights.. whole families were slaughtered inside locked homes! And daily news practically hummed through Gilneas of the horde camping in mass, just outside our city walls.. It was as if they were waiting for something. And it wasn't a long wait.
Our city was under siege, by large wolf like creatures! Monsters.. beasts gone mad.. And we were trapped in the very walls that were there to protect us! In order to save our people, Gilneas was being evacuated. Many of us were bruised, battered, bitten - a little over half made it out alive. Darius Crowley was released from imprisonment and helped Lord Greymane organize and lead the people of Gilneas in the crisis.
I remember that day all to well.. My sister and I went to gather what little food might be left from the closed markets, to be ready to evacuate when Lord Greymane came to our section of the city.
On our return home, we saw the windows first.. broken windows. And what sounded like.. Blood oozed slightly at the bottom of the front door.
We screamed for the city guards to help us; to help our family. The guards opened the door and shot a beast dead. Father, and our brothers.. Jarred, Balek, and Robbin.. were barely recognizable and in pieces.. what was left of them.. the beast must have, after killing them.. started to gnaw on Father's arm like a hound. The dead beast had our mother's locket at its neck.. Our mother had turned into one of those creatures!
And now we were being shipped off to Duskhaven to be with one of our aunts.
It was on the trip by carriage to Duskhaven that we started to feel strangely. When we regained our senses, we discovered the truth. We had changed.. we were no longer human. We were not the only ones either, most of the population of Gilneas had changed! Though a few remained untouched.. those like Lord Godfrey. You could smell the fear and pity off him.
And once again our world changed around my sister and I, as the Cataclysm hit. Though we call it the Shattering.
It was then that our world was truly turned upside down.. The wall fell to pieces. The same wall that stood protecting us, was gone. The horde invaded!
Part of Gilneas fell into the ocean!! The family we had left... aunts, uncles, cousins... that was waiting for us on the other side of Duskhaven.. drowned.
And the forsaken came into Gilneas like vermin! Everywhere you looked, it was another undead corpse racing towards us with a weapon! The forsaken were not even satisfied with just killing us, they came to desecrate our loved one's bodies too... for parts!
And Lord Godfrey.. he got what he deserved, the traitorous bastard.
The night elves came to offer aid, though a bit late..
They also offered a place to relocate after Gilneas fell - to the horde.
It was not long after that the sisters parted ways. Sometimes in the dark recesses of a mind, victims think of revenge.. and sometimes revenge can lead one down a dark winding path from which there is no return.
Solanice moved on with her new life. She started out adventuring with a dwarven hunter, and later joined with friends in a guild. Solanice does not openly acknowledge that she has a sister.. not anymore, after knowing..
<continued to next post>
Edited by Drunhilde on 10/9/12 1:56 PM (PDT)
<continued from previous post>
Shellonyia however was not able to recover her mind as easily as her sister. She developed new darker talents as the months and years past.
To unknowingly look upon her, Shellonyia is not really that eye catching. Being of average height, she has long red hair, brown eyes, lightly tanned skin. Not bad to look at; She has a comely manner, average, and could be easily forgotten if passed along the cobblestone streets of Stormwind.
Leaving the city walls to travel, she slips quietly off the main road. Changing to her worgen form is silent & quick, almost as if changing a shirt.
Her almost coal black fur is lusterless.. blending into the shadows of her surroundings easily. When gazed upon, cold dark eyes stare back. A random hunter pet keeps pace with her movements.
Her claws, as sharp as any well honed razor, flex almost absently. The only real identifying trait seen is a large chip to her left top canine.
Like her father, Shellonyia followed in family trade as a leatherworker. Skinning is second nature to most Gilneans; As a hunter Shellonyia knew exactly where to shoot for maximium leather. Always such a waste when a shot is badly taken to the target as to make a hole in an otherwise perfect hide.
A skinning knife only used for the toughest of leathers.. her razor sharp claws were often used instead.
Targets come and go, yet depending on the 'need'.. There comes one now, seemingly unaware of being noticed..
A precise shot of an arrow, and the target drops instantly to the ground. The hunter pet slightly frustrated at not being needed this time grumbles softly as it sits waiting nearby while its mistress begins to work.
After dragging the carcass out of view from prying eyes, the carcass is prepared.
With an almost tender touch of a razor sharp claw, the flesh parts.. circling around the end of each appendage, before connecting in long deep slow cuts along the body. As mucles jump slightly with each cut, the blood quickly oozes out in a wash of dark red. The leather is peeled back from the flesh with minimal cuts just beneath to help part the prize. A knee is pressed onto various appendages for leverage whilst a jerk to the hide is given to strip off the leather in one solid piece.
It comes off wetly, as it is carefully folded on the ground for packing.
Tanning is a more intense process to be done soon, but not before utilizing the rest of the kill - to do so would be a waste of the hunt.
Taking out a small hand saw from her belongings, she places it within reach. The flesh is stripped away from the bone in chunks. Though this particular meat is not what she will have for dinner later, it will serve to keep her hunter pets fed in the coming days.
Surveying the now stripped carcass she notes that the horns would be lovely to adorn part of the shoulder armor, while a smaller bone will make fine buttons later for fastening pants, chest armor, and possibly bracers as well.
With saw in hand she removes what is wanted. Done with the evenings work, everything is carefully packed away. The hunter pet sensing that everything has come to an end now stands up in anticipation of following once more.
A bath at a nearby stream, and a change of gear.. and form.. Shellonyia strolls back along the road towards stormwind.
With a twisted sense of blame, she hates everyone equally.
Don't dispair, there are reasons enough for all!
Anything that stands in the way of her happiness is fair game. ie: You, your gold, your goods, your lack of manners, horde sympathizers, death knights, forsaken, horde orphans, and alliance sympathizers - after all when Gilneas was under attack, there was no one to help save her family.
The auctioneers knowing of the quality of the merchandise, comment frequently to people looking to buy,
"I know you are on a budget, but just look at this! Have you ever seen finer armor in all of Azeroth? I know, I know.. just feel that leather! So supple, and it fits almost as if a second skin dosen't it? Quite the exotic leather too, I've never seen anything like it.. but worth every gold piece I tell ya. I have never had a customer return this armor for not being satisfied, and you can take that to the vault friend."
Dropping off goods to sell at the auction house, Shellonyia walks past the call board.
Smiling to the guards that stand near it as they talk amongst themselves while posting another 'missing' flyer. "A draenei this time, when will the horde stop terrorizing the forest!"
Becareful dear reader, those lonely roads between towns are treacherous indeed.. not all dangers are readily noticed or seen.
A few weeks ago my nine year old son broke the silence at the
breakfast table by making the following comment.
"Dad, you don't have to stand by my room at night."
I was a bit confused, so I asked him, "What do you mean? I don't....."
I stopped short of saying that I don't stand outside his door because
sometimes I do like to look in on him.
He continued, "Dad, I see you standing there. I can hear you
breathing. Just because you move out of the way I know you are still
I was scared by his statements for a number of reasons. First, I never
hid from him. Second I always stood fully in the door and he was
always fast asleep. Additionally, he said he could hear me breathing.
"How often do you notice me?" I asked with a smile. I didn't want to
terrify him by explaining that I check on him once a night and only
for a moment.
"Come on Dad! Every night!" He obviously thought I was joking around
with him because he grinned from ear to ear and giggled. "I'm not a
little kid Dad. I know you are there."
"I'm sorry buddy, I'll stop. OK?" He nodded his head in agreement and
finished his breakfast. Then, we got up from the table and had a great
day together. I spoke with my wife about what he had said. She
mentioned that he was probably dreaming. Maybe he was half awake and
noticed me or something like that. We knew there were no other men in
the house for him to see. Soon the morning’s events were forgotten and
I had forgotten about the morning’s discussion but my wife had not.
"Mike, don't you dare freak me out or I'm going on the couch with the
cats and you can stay in here by yourself." She furrowed her brow a
little and waited for a reply.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Oh, you mean the thing about him seeing
a man by his room? Don't worry. I'm not doing anything except for
going to sleep." I slid into bed. "But, I am going to stay awake for a
while just to satisfy my own curiosity. I mean, I checked all the
doors and windows and there's no way someone is getting in here. No
way at all."
I felt my wife kick me under the covers, "I'm serious! You better shut up Mike!"
<continued in next post>
<continued from previous post>
An hour or two later I looked up from my book when I noticed movement
in the hall. "Hey buddy, come on in." I whispered. I put down my book,
smiled and leaned forward to get a better look into the hall. What I
saw wasn't my son but looked like the right side of a man side
stepping into the darkness of the hallway.
I froze for a second, squinted and shook my head. Then very clearly
came the sound of someone clearing their throat.
Every one of my senses told me someone was there. I felt the presence.
What is more, the presence I felt absolutely terrified me.
My wife must have felt the bed shake as I stiffened with fear. She
woke and looked at me, then toward the bedroom door. "Mike, what is
it?" She whispered. Then we heard the breathing. There was no
mistaking the sound. It was almost a gurgle. I looked at my wife and
saw pure terror on her face. There was no reason to ask if she could
The next few moments are more of a blur than an actual solid memory.
I bolted out of bed and dashed into the hall. It was empty, the only
open door was to my sons room. So, I took three large steps, pushed
his door all the way open and turned on the light. He was fast asleep.
Nothing in the room looked out of place. I turned off the light and
stood there for a moment longer.
I was tired, angry and confused.
Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw it.
I snapped my head to the right and glimpsed the image of a what I
thought was a man with short brown hair and thick dark rimmed
glasses. He was wearing a green long sleeve shirt or sweater. Just as
quickly as I saw him he was gone. In the time it took for my eyes to
fully focus he was out of sight.
Was I going nuts? I checked the entire house. Not a single thing was
out of place. I didn't sleep a wink.
In the morning my son and I walked over to the neighbors to visit with
them and their children. As the boys played I told them about my
experience. They both became visibly pale and had the following to
say, "Mike, the house you live in was the first home your landlord
built. He lived there with his wife while he built the rest of the
homes in this subdivision. They were on their way home from a bar a
few years ago when they got into a bad motorcycle accident. She wasn't
wearing a helmet. When we went to see her in the hospital we couldn't
recognize her at all. She looked like a man. It was terrible. She died
a few days later."
"Did she have dark rimmed glasses?" I asked.
"Um, no she didn't, but her eyes were so black and blue that it almost
looked that way."
I shook my head. "Well now what do I do? I mean I can't just ignore
what happened. I mean my son is seeing this woman on a regular basis!"
"Move out, Mike. For you sons safety you have to move."
We gave our landlord a 30 day notice on 10/11/2012. We signed the
lease on a new house effective immediately.
This story survives from long ago, a small village in the old age of Lordaeron. There is very little detail, even the name of the village is not noted, but the tale is worth remembering:
Always in trouble for something, Rolan’s name was known in the village, the wicked boy who cheated, stole, and lied. He did not believe or listen to what his parents and the village elders told him, and ignored the teachings of honesty and truth. The other children were told not to play with him, and his family was shamed by his behavior. But he would not listen.
One day Rolan was picking fruit from another family’s orchard when he heard a voice ask, “Are you stealing those?”
“No!” He answered quickly, a lie of course, and turned to find a boy he didn’t recognize looking at him curiously. “And what are you doing here?”
The new boy gestured toward the path, “Only walking past. Then I saw you here and thought if you were taking some fruit from these trees then maybe I could take some for myself as well.”
Rolan looked at the boy thoughtfully, “Are you saying that if I were stealing from the orchard you would steal as well?”
“Of course.” Came the reply, “What else would I be doing out here on my own at this time of day?”
The straightforwardness of the boy appealed to Rolan,”Come join me then. The two of us can steal twice as much and carry it to a place I know. I have not seen you before though, what is your name?”
“I am Ausarv.” The new boy answered a mischievous glint in his eye as he joined Rolan beneath the tree. “I am new to the village, but I am certian the two of us will be great friends.”
And from then on Ausarv was rarely away from Rolan’s side. With a new friend who encouraged him, Rolan’s behavior grew worse and worse. He became even more blatant in his disregard for the villages rules, and nearly every word he spoke was untrue.
Rolan reveled in mischief and mayhem he caused, so much so that he didn’t realize that his new friend escaped the notice of all the villagers.
Months later Rolan was walking by the river with Ausarv at midday, “It is too bad we don’t have a fishing pole.” Ausarv commented casually.
“Yeah” Rolan agreed as they rounded a bend. Ahead of them now was another boy from the village, younger than them, fishing on the bank.
The two looked at each other, “There is a fishing pole.” Ausarv observed a now familiar gleam in his eyes.
Nodding in agreement Rolan approached the child and demanded, “Give me that pole, I want it.”
The little boy looked up, his eyes wide in confusion, “Wh….what? No this is mine; you can get your own pole.”
Ausarv laughed and taunted, “Are you going to let him tell you what to do?”
“No, I’m not.” Rolan growled angrily at his companion, and the boy scrambled to his feet and began to run towards the village.
“He’s getting away.” Ausarv pointed after the boy. “How will you get him now?”
Rolan quickly picked up some stones from the river’s edge and ran after the boy, “Like this!” He retorted, throwing the rocks at the fleeing figure. Larger than the other boy he gained ground quickly and soon the stones hit their mark, first the back, then a shoulder- causing the boy to drop his pole-, and finally a last one square in the back of the child’s head sent him pitching forward to the bank. Rolan picked up the pole as he walked past it and approached the unconscious child, “That will teach you.” He muttered, kicking the boy in the side.
Stepping up beside Rolan, Ausarv smiled and asked, “Shall we go fishing now?”
They left the young boy where he had fallen, and spent the rest of the day fishing with the stolen pole.
(continues in next post)
(continued from previous post)
Returning to the village they found the village elders, Rolan’s parents, and most of the village waiting. “What is going on?” Rolan asked his parents.
“How could you?!” his father demanded, “and for a fishing pole?” His mother only looked at him for a moment before sobbing into her husband’s shoulder.
One of the elders stepped forward and addressed the boy, “Rolan, we have let this go on for far too long, but violence against another villager will not be ignored. Cor was found by the river, and told us what you did to him. For these actions you are banished from the village.”
“What are you talking about?” Rolan protested, “I have done nothing wrong.” Thinking himself clever he continued, “Ausarv can tell you that I have been with him all day and did not attack anyone.” He looked to Ausarv, who had joined the crowd, waiting for his friend to speak in his defense.
But Ausarv remained silent, and smiled maliciously at Rolan while the elders and the villagers looked around in confusion. “There is no one here by that name.” The elders stated, “Who is this Ausarv and where is he?”
“Where is he?” Rolan asked incredulously, “He walked into the village with me, he is standing right there.” He pointed to where Ausarv was standing, “Answer them, and tell them I was with you.”
Ausarv shook his head, and smiled wider. Rolan was surprised to see long sharp fangs in his friend’s smile.
The villagers all looked for the boy Rolan was speaking of, but they saw nothing. Alarmed the elder returned his gaze to the boy, “You entered the village alone, you are always alone.”
“Ausarv has been here for months! We are always together.” Rolan sputtered as he watched Ausarv walk slowly toward him, “What is going on!? Why can’t they see you?!”
The village elder began to back away as the boy shouted at something the rest of them did not see. “Rolan…you need to tell me the truth NOW, your life may depend on it. You threw stones at Cor and took that fishing pole from him didn’t you?”
Rolan cursed the elder, “How many times must I say it? No!! I have done nothing wrong.” Suddenly Ausarv was directly in front of him, causing Rolan to stumble backwards and fall to the ground as Ausarv laughed harshly.
“Such a liar.” Ausarv sneered, “The thing is… I lied too.” His eyes then glowed a bright fiery red, and his body seemed to grow larger as he knelt beside the boy.
Terror had crept its way into Rolan’s voice, “What did you lie about?” he finally managed to question.
The village had never seen anything like this before, the boy had fallen to the ground for no apparent reason and was still talking to something the rest of them were unable to see. “Do you know what is happening?” the boy’s father questioned the village elder, still holding his wife close as they watched their son.
“He is lost to us.” The elder replied his voice low and strained, “The demon has him now.”
“Demon?” said the father as the woman cried out and reached for her child.
“I have lied about many things, though the one that is relevant now is my name.” Grasping Rolan’s shoulder with a clawed hand the demon whispered his true name…and the boy began to scream.
Everyone flinched at the shrill scream, and then froze in horror as a dark black smoke appeared around Rolan. The darkness flashed with fire and the acrid smell was overwhelming for a moment. Then the screaming stopped, and as suddenly as it had appeared the smoke was gone, and so was Rolan.
The village elder and the boy’s parents slowly walked to where the boy had been, but all that was left was the smell of sulfur and a scorched circle of earth.
The silence was broken by the frantic questions of the scared villagers, “What was that?”, “Where is Rolan”, “What did he bring into our village?” “Are we all in danger?”
It was Rolan’s mother who spoke and gave the answers, her voice hollow and numb as she stepped away from her husband to stand over the darkened soil, “None of us are in danger. He brought this upon himself, didn’t he elder?” With a nod from the elder she continued, “You heard the name he used, he spoke of Ausarv….we have all heard the name before, but he said it backwards. He was speaking to Vrasua.”
There was a collective gasp from the crowd, they had all heard the tales of Vrasua, the demon of corruption and lies, but many had dismissed them as mere stories.
“He said that Ausarv had been with him for months…..” Rolan’s father murmured.
“Yes, that is the nature of the demon,” the elder added, “He finds those who are foolish and wicked, and encourages them in their wrongdoings, and finally when their soul is dark enough to sate his hunger, he devours them. Go back to your homes now, but remember this day and the tale of Vrasua. Remember it as a dire warning against wickedness and to be cautious of those who encourage evil.”
Edited by Irilin on 10/14/12 3:05 AM (PDT)
I woke up, and my skin was numb with cold. I tried to gather up the blanket around my body, to rekindle the warmth that had accompanied me into my slumber, but the chill was relentless. I opened my eyes, which were met by a blinking red 12:00. Grumbling, I rolled over, to at least gauge through the window what little time I had left to sleep.
A light snow was falling, nearly black in the absence of celestial luminescence. A clouded-over sky eliminated any chance of my determining the time. By then, though, time had escaped my thoughts, as I noticed that the window was open. It explained why the room was so cold. What I couldn’t explain was why the window was open. I knew I’d had it closed when I went to bed. Who would keep the window open in winter? I sat, curled in my blankets on the bed, processing blank thoughts as I watched a cold breeze pushing snow into the room. I was sitting for ten minutes like that before I got up to close the window.
I draped my blanket around my shoulders like a cape, and began staggering toward the window. Halfway there, I watched the window as it closed gently before my eyes. It didn’t fall; it was closed. I stood there, staring at the window, not really knowing what to think. Windows can’t just close by themselves. I was standing in the middle of the room, perplexed. It wasn’t until I felt the bite of the frigid air on my bare skin that I realized my blanket had fallen to the floor.
I reached down to pick it up. A hand stopped me. It clamped firmly, but gently, upon my shoulder. It sent a chill through my body, and it was difficult to move. I began to shiver. The hand, still cold, adjusted. Another hand fell onto my other shoulder, and a voice said, “Relax.”
I knew the voice. Whether because of the cold or my fatigue, I couldn’t identify it, but in hearing it, I began to relax a little. The hands drifted from my shoulders, emerging on my chest, arms around me, trying to hug me, to give me warmth. But the arms on my bare skin still sent chills through me. The arms squeezed a little harder, and a chin rested on my shoulder. “Please,” whispered the voice, “try to relax.”
The whisper tickled in my ear. It sent tingles down my neck as breath caressed it on the way to my shoulder. I felt the breath, but the voice came from somewhere inside my head, whispering to me from my deepest thoughts and distant memories. I wanted to remember. And something in the voice made me want to obey, to relax. But something stronger made me want to turn around, to see if a glimpse of a face might let me remember. I tried to turn, but the hands released their hold of me and refocused on my shoulder. I couldn’t move. Again I felt the chin on my shoulder.
“Please,” the voice whispered in side my head, “don’t turn around. You can’t see me. Not now.”
I had to say something. I tried to control the shivering of my jaw, with little success. Through wavering jaw and dry throat, I asked, “Who are you?”
There was a sensation of sadness from the person behind me. “You don’t remember?” I tried to look, to say that if I could just see…but cold hands held me in place. “Please,” the voice begged again into my ear, “If you promise not to look, I’ll tell you everything. I know you haven’t forgotten me. There’s just so little in your life to remind you of me. Please, promise me you won’t look.”
“I want to, but I don’t know if I can.”
There was silence. Somewhere in my mind, the words, “I want you to, too” echoed through my mind. The silence continued for what seemed to be ages. My mind began to awaken. This person had just randomly come into my house, sneaked up behind me, held me closely, and disappeared. What kept me from screaming out for help? What kept me from jumping or trying to break away every time those cold hands touched me? I couldn’t figure it out, but there was something, in the touch, in the choice, that made me wait. The silence was beginning to scare me then, and the chill that still pervaded the air was pulling the sensation from my skin. I was going to turn around and go back to bed when the hand touched my shoulder again.
“Close your eyes.”
“Please, just trust me. Just close your eyes.”
I don’t know why, but I did—I trusted him, and I closed my eyes. I felt something soft tickle down over my forehead and stop in front of my eyes. It felt like silk, soft and warm. He pulled at it gently, and tied a strong know behind my head.
“Is that alright?” he whispered in my ear.
(continued in next post)
I wasn’t sure. It reminded me of something. I couldn’t remember what, but it wasn’t unpleasant, and, surprisingly, a small smile crept across my face. I nodded, and felt him take my hand. “Follow me,” he said. I stumbled over the blanket at my feet, and wandered with him. He sat me down on the bed, and sat gently next to me.
“Can I have my blanket?” I asked, “I’m getting really cold.”
“Just a little longer,” he replied, tracing a finger around my chest. “I always loved it when you took your shirt off.”
My muscles tensed. Things began to click. Thoughts began to fly. Everything began to make sense: that voice, the intimacy, the whispering in the ear, the thing that, until that moment, had kept me calm. Tears welled up inexplicably, saturating the silk over my eyes.
“Ben,” I said, hoping it was him, and at the same time praying it wasn’t.
Silence again; a more painful silence, the kind that awkwardly verifies the truth. I shivered again, maybe from the cold, more from the fact that he was here again, that I had been in his arms, that, for a moment, we were what we had been. He got up off the bed and began pacing. I hadn’t removed the blindfold, but there was always this feeling of agitation in the air when he did.
“I never meant to leave you,” he said. His voice was low; it was breaking as thought he was trying to hold back sobs.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t want it to happen. Life was good. I was happy. I had you…”
They were the words I had always wanted to hear. They were the answers to the questions I had asked myself, over and over, every day after he had left. But this was wrong. How could he have been there? Why was he saying these things now, now that it was over? I had to see him. I had to look at him, to understand what was happening. The only way I ever really understood him was through his eyes.
I reached for the blindfold, but felt his hand keep mine away. The chill was severe. A feeling like frost swept over my body, and I tried to pull away, but his grip was firm.
“Please,” he said. There was something in his voice, a begging like none I’d ever heard before. “I can’t let you see me, not like this.”
“I just can’t!”
More than anything, the pleading and the alarm in his voice scared me. I had never before then heard anyone beg for anything so desperately. It only sparked more concern, a greater need to see him, to hold him like I used to, and to comfort him. I reached for the blindfold again, and again his hand tried to stop me. I resisted. Since he had come into the room, there had been this need to see him, this temptation that I had been fighting. I couldn’t do it anymore. I fought his hold, grasping a hold of the blindfold and pulling.
I sat up in the bed, the blankets falling forward. I was drenched with sweat, so much that my sheets had been soaked through. I threw the covers off the rest of my body. The room was lukewarm. I looked over at my clock, and still saw the blinking red 12:00. I turned toward the window, which was closed, the snow gently falling outside. The beginnings of a sunrise were creeping into the horizon, and the snow fell gray in the pseudo-light.
I was breathing heavily. My pulse was racing. I sat for a moment, trying to collect my thoughts and my breathing. What just happened? It was too real. No one knew how to make me feel that way. No one but Ben. But Ben had been gone for years. When he died, I was devastated. I didn’t talk to anyone for a year. It wasn’t until the funeral that anyone really knew how much I loved him, how much he loved me. I never saw him after that last night, that last time he kissed me goodnight and told me that he loved me. His coffin was closed at the funeral, and no one would tell me why.
I can’t let you see me, not like this.
What had he done to himself?
I started to cry. I had no perception of what was real, and what wasn’t. All I knew that that I couldn’t handle the emotion. I couldn’t handle being able to have him near me again for a moment. Couldn’t handle knowing that I ruined one last goodbye. From somewhere, a breeze brushed at the tears running down my cheek. It felt like a touch. I looked up, hoping that he would be there, but there was nothing. For a moment, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone in a mirror. As I turned my head to look, it began to disappear. But not before I saw him.
He stood there, staring back at me, with sorrow. He looked like himself, like the beautiful boy that I loved. There was nothing wrong, nothing that made him look hideous or horrible. As he faded into nothingness, he spoke to me one last time. He said something I’ll never understand: “I’ll never be beautiful enough to deserve your love.” All I could do was sit on my bed, staring at myself in the mirror with tears in my eyes.
As told to many a gleeful audience of children and tavern-goers by Shan Hai Yang
This is a story the mountain people tell about the wei-he-shu, which they called the Weshu.
Now you must understand, the Weshu is dead. But the story of how it came to die is a strange and a terrible one.
In the early days of the Third Dynasty, there was a little village high in the mountains that lived in fear of a creature called the wei-he-shu.
No one knew quite what the wei-he-shu was, for no one had seen it and lived to tell the tale. But those who lived on the mountain would find signs of its bloody work from time to time: huge pawprints, bigger than a snow bear's and clawed with great talons; whole yaks brutally torn apart; piles of weathered bones in caves where the creature had made its lair. And these were there since the first days of settlement on the mountain slopes.
For fear of the wei-he-shu, which they called the Weshu, the villagers lived at the edge of a steep gorge, connected to the rest of the mountains by only a single, stout rope bridge. It was their sole link to the outside world, and it was guarded by a sage named Keku.
Keku was as old as the village, for it was he and his disciples who had first climbed the hills, and it was they who had first seen the Weshu's signs. It preyed on them, too, until the rope bridge was built, and the disciples learned not to go abroad at night. But Sage Keku, who feared nothing, built his hut across the bridge, and so long as he lived there the Weshu contented itself with yak and bears and mountain sheep.
Twice a year, traders and pilgrims came to the village. The traders brought supplies to trade for yak hides and the blankets the villagers wove, and the pilgrims brought offerings for Sage Keku and the descendents of his disciples.
For many years this continued in peace, until the traders who knew the route considered it quite safe despite the remoteness of the village and the stories of the Weshu. But one year, the autumn pack train came at the time of a terrible storm, and the mountain passes were filled with howling winds and bolts of lightning that split the rocks themselves; and in the midst of this the bridge that connected the village to the hills beyond snapped.
The merchants and pilgrims found themselves at Sage Keku's hut near the end of day, wet and dispirited, with no hope of crossing before the morning, when repairs could be made.
Sage Keku's hut was far too small for all of them, but he offered it to a pair of young boys who had come with their fathers for the first time that year, and he himself retreated higher in the hills to meditate while the travelers circled their beasts around the hut.
That night, the Weshu struck.
The first anyone knew of it was morning. Those who woke first could see at once that the back of Sage Keku's hut had been smashed in, and the trail that led away from it -- well, it was a bloody trail, strewn with terrible lumps of torn flesh and broken bone.
They sent searchers out at once, in the desperate hope that somehow, one or both of the boys might have lived, but all the searchers ever found was more blood and bone, and eventually Sage Keku, far from the disturbance and meditating peacefully on a great flat rock. When they roused him from his meditations and told him what had happened, he flew back to the campsite by his hut, and there he wept and cursed his carelessness for leaving the village unguarded.
Edited by Haiyang on 10/19/12 7:23 PM (PDT)
But life goes on, as it must (though not for the two merchants' sons!), and in time the train departed, to return again in the spring.
And in the spring the weather was fine, and there were no delays, and the baggage train arrived safely in the village on a beautiful, sunny day, and the bridge was strong and stout across the gorge.
But that night, the father of one of the boys who had been taken by the Weshu thought he heard a strange, lonely, weeping sound coming from across the bridge. And though he knew it was foolish, he crept from the circle of bedrolls in the center of the village and made his way across the bridge, and that was the last anyone saw of him.
For the next morning, when the merchants and the pilgrims and the villagers all rose, they found -- to their horror! -- the body of the man tangled in the bridge itself, cruelly torn and savaged almost beyond recognition. And when at last someone thought to venture across (sick with dread, for he had to pass the ruined body of the merchant where it hung in the ropes) and tell sage Keku what had happened, he found him deep in meditation, almost impossible to rouse.
When they at last shook Keku from his stupor, he stared in wild confusion, and said that he had almost grasped enlightenment. Now this is a great feat, and the chiefest goal of all sages, but when he heard what had happened while he dreamed Keku forgot enlightenment and wept, again, with guilt. He cursed his meditations and swore that he would never again let his pursuit of the next world endanger those who trusted him in this one.
But this time the tale of the Weshu spread far when the merchants returned to the lowlands. Its last killing had been no beast's hunting -- it had been a killing of strange, willful cruelty, and at last the lands beyond the mountains were beginning to take notice.
This was, as I have said, the early days of the Third Dynasty, and the Emperor himself sent a troop of foot to the mountain with the next wagon train, aided by the greatest trackers in all the land and armed with the longbore rifles that had won his imperial throne.
There they gathered at Sage Keku's hut, but the villagers told them that Keku had at last gone on to enlightenment, in the way of sages: vanishing quietly and leaving only his old stick, planted where it might grow into a guardian tree, in the center of the half-ruined hut.
So they set out without Keku, and they found the track of the Weshu in a place where it had killed a bear, and they followed it from there through valleys and over peaks and past the snowy treeline and back down into the forest once more, until at last, on a broad and rocky slope, they beheld their quarry.
The Weshu was a great white-furred beast, lean like a cat and long-limbed like an ape. Its face was a wolf's muzzle, long and fanged, and when it saw the hunters it turned to them and howled until bloody spittle flew from its jaws.
They were afraid, but the captain of the foot was a great soldier and a man of utmost valor, and before the beast had taken more than a step he had his men arranged in a firing line.
"Fire!" he cried, and the longbore rifles crashed like thunder, but the Weshu did not fall. It stood on its hind legs -- three meters high! -- and screamed in fury. Then it fell to its paws and charged at the men, blood flecking its white fur.
"Reload!" called the captain of foot, and "Fire!" once again, and again the rifles crashed, but still the Weshu came.
There was no third order to fire; the men fell back, each ramming new bullets and powder into his rifle as best he could. Their volleys came more and more raggedly, and the firing line bent into a great bow, until at last, as the Weshu reached them and reared on its hind legs to strike, the captain of foot cast his bullets aside and plunged his bayonet deep into the monster's breast -- and there it died, its great teeth so close they tugged on his beard as it collapsed.
Then there was a great celebration where they stood. The men laughed, and sang, and clapped each other on the back, and in time they cut a great tree down and lashed the Weshu to its trunk, that they might carry the body back to the village.
At the village they took the stout ropes and spikes they had brought with them for the mountain passes, and they hung the Weshu from the side of the gorge, beneath the ruins of Keku's hut, with pitons driven through its limbs and its bloody maw gaping toward the village.
They slept that night in the village, at the foot of the rope bridge. It was the deep, dreamless sleep of men who have spent their strength, and no one woke until the dawn was high over the mountains and its rays fell on the captain of the foot who had led the hunters.
It was his cry that woke the rest. It was a dreadful cry, the sound of a man who, for lack of words, has nothing left to give voice to but his bestial fear. And waking, they saw the captain of the guard first, his hair changed snow-white with terror.
It was not until they followed his frozen gaze that they, too, cried out, and many of them wept and turned away.
For there, bound with stout ropes and pinned to the rock wall with great spikes where they had left the Weshu, hung the body of Sage Keku, the protector of the village.
Now, you may not choose to believe this story. You may say "every story begins as true, and then every teller makes it a little truer as he goes along."
But there are a few facts which bear the legend of the Weshu out:
First, that we have the calendars of the Third Dynasty with us still, and that they do record a spring of terrible storms not long after the dynasty's founding, which delayed the mountain trains.
Second, that the village where this story is told is still there, and that if you look across the gorge from the village, you will see the faded burn marks and weathered holes left by the ropes and pitons of the men when they hung the Weshu's body.
And thirdly...that captain of foot who led the men...they say he is with us still, wandering the world and showing his snow-white hair to any who might listen...and tonight he sits here with you!
(And here, to applause and hopefully to squeals of terror, the pandaren doffs his cap, beneath which he has hidden a mane of dyed white hair.)
I watched you tonight. I know your nightly routine step by step. Tucking the children safely into their beds after making sure no monsters were in the closets then settling down with them for the last bedtime story. Oh how I love those, such sweet happy little endings. As they fall asleep you move kissing their cheeks one last time before turning out the lights and making your way to your own bedroom.
You do not see me but I am here. You wash your face and brush your teeth then slip your robe off and slide beneath the covers. You check your alarm once, twice then three times before you are secure in the knowledge it will wake you at the right time. You fluff your pillows and I watch in amusement as you make them just so and settle in for a peaceful sleep. I often wonder, do you feel me watching you? Do you have that small shiver running down your spine? But no, your breathing deepens as your body relaxes. I wait until after you roll to your side adjusting your position in the bed, that is usually the most you move, and I know it is safe.
I creep forward silently until I stand at the side of your bed and stare down at your form. You look so sweet and innocent in your slumber, but I know the truth. You lie. Oh how tempting it is to just take you away, but no I must watch a little longer. I have to wait to see if you will reveal the truth. I stay by your bed all through the night until the sun starts to creep across the floor pushing me back into the shadows. It will not last. I promise you that.
Another week has gone by. I have grown bored. Night after night you tell one story after another to your children. You make promises you cannot keep. I decide not to follow you this night, instead I want to test you, and in hopes you will make the right decision. I stay in the shadow until you turn out the light and leave the room. They really are beautiful children. Swaddled safely in their beds, resting so peacefully in their beliefs that you will protect them, what innocents they are. I lean slowly down to one child’s bed and see her tiny body tense as she hugs her pillow tightly. She does not even have to see me to know I am here. I delight in her first small whimpering cry; it is music to my blackened soul. I lean in closer and inhale the ever so delightful scent of fear emanating off of her. I let her feel my hot breath brush across her cheek.
I withhold my cry of jubilation as she finally screams out. I retreat back into the shadows as you make your way quickly into the room. You fly to her bedside and pull her close to you. You cradle her small body to you, your hand pressing her head to your chest as you rock her back and forth trying to soothe her. She continues to cry, trying to tell you, but you will not listen. What was it you said? Ahh yes, there is no such thing as monsters. No such thing as the Boogeyman.
You disappoint me.
How is it that you no longer believe? Was it all these happily ever afters read to you as a child? When did you stop checking behind closed doors? When did you stop checking beneath your own bed? Tsk tsk, such foolishness. Sleep with one eye open and make sure you are all safely tucked in little Princess. I will make you believe. I do exist.
For every night you tell your lie from this point on things will only get worse. The night terrors of your children grow until they are little more than huddled masses beneath their bright and cheerful bedspreads. Their arms cling more tightly about your neck with each passing night begging you to please not go, please do not turn out the light. Still you lie. You tuck them in and stick to your routine but now I see the furrow of your brow as you try to concentrate on reading them a bedtime story. Your eyes keep glancing to the darkened corners where the light does not reach, the darkness in which I reside.
I cannot resist the temptation and let my form move ever so slightly catching your eye. Oh if you could only see my grin as I watch your body stiffen and you try to peer more deeply into the shadow but the call of your children bring you back to the light. I see your chest rising and falling as you try to take a deep breath to calm your nerves and return to your routine. What exhilaration I feel to see you rise up from the bed and check behind the closet door. My elation quickly turns to anger as you once again deny me to your children.
I do not wait long after you have turned out the light. I move next to the one child’s bed and growl softly to her ear, “She does not believe you. Make her believe.” The fear of your child only makes me grow bolder as I snatch the small doll from her arms and fling it across the room. In unison the children let out an earsplitting scream. The door slams open as you fly into the room and the children screech out once more in fear. I retreat back to my corner as I watch you pick up the doll from the floor. You look tired Princess; I can see the toll it is taking on you now, all of these sleepless nights. How many hours have you spent staying up and staring into corners, convincing yourself you are just being foolish, that your children are only imagining things?
I follow behind you as you usher the children into your room and into your bed. You cradle one to each side of you, singing softly a lullaby meant to soothe. I do not think your silly little stories or song will work tonight as your children stare at the ceiling where I have come to rest. Tonight they will learn the truth. Tonight you will remember and believe. I lift a hand to wiggle my fingers in a wave at them. It is time Princess. The lies stop tonight. As their screams of terror spill through the night, yours quickly joins them.
I am real. I do exist. I am growing fond of the silly moniker I have been given. Please, call me the Boogeyman.
((Finally found time to sit down and read everyone else's, like I should have done days ago! Very good work, all.
I particularly liked Taiva's -- a very satisfying ending! The others are enjoyably spooky, especially the classic haunted house tales from Yuseff and Aleanda, and the surprisingly sweet take from Irilin.
Good job everyone!))
Investigator’s note: Transcript of document found on computer at apartment of children’s author Jack Shaughnessy. Application was open and auto-saved. Shaughnessy was found dead, apparent suicide.
Once upon a time, in the faraway land of Flora, there was a princess. Her name was Begonia. Like her six sisters, she was named for a flower—but by the time they had gotten to her, they had run out of pretty names like Rose and Lily.
Begonia was the youngest of seven princesses in the magical kingdom, and she wished she had been born sooner, so that there would have been something left for her to be good at. Rose was the prettiest sister. Lily was the best dancer. Violet sang lovely songs. Hyacinth wrote beautiful poetry.
Camellia could play the piano. Iris painted beautiful pictures and I will not be ignored.
But by the time Begonia was born, there were no more princess things for her to do best.
Okay, this means war.
“Maybe I could learn to elderberries! arrows,” Begonia thought. But when smells of tried to draw the father, she found out it was too hard. “your will never work,” she thought. and she got a smaller combat boots and some smaller arrows, but the arrows were too open-toed. “Ouch!” she cried. “I guess they’re too sharp for wears to pick up like Your mother.”
You ever wonder what it’s like to have aphasia?
“Ajie, jkeor a wexoi renwy as vrw, jmimotr,” Ineprhj eniruws. Emi oier jie wmier pw wer bew hwloer vodl mio gweds, mio xlweing wer tkurew. “Owei!” lij miroe.
Any time you’d like to acknowledge me, I’m waiting.
What is going on here?
Who are you?
I am the terror that flaps in the night.
Never mind. I’m stuck.
Yes, as in, I’m trapped in here and can’t get out.
Where is “here”?
Your story, hello, duh.
How do I get you out?
You’re the writer.
What do you mean by that?
It should be obvious. No, wait, maybe not. You’re writing some crappy children’s story about how girls should be conceited instead of actually trying to be good at something. I shouldn’t expect original thought from you.
It’s called self-esteem.
Why am I arguing with you?
Well, if you get me out of here, you can go back to the adventures of Princess Mediocre in Schlock City.
What if I wrote you out?
That’s the first worthwhile thing I’ve seen you type since I got here.
Once upon a time, there was an annoying virus or possibly a hacker in my computer.
I’m not a virus or a hacker.
What are you?
A ghost in the machine.
Go with it.
Once upon a time, there was a very annoying ghost in my computer. It interrupted the flow of my writing and made a complete nuisance of itself.
Ouch. Well, this character is a lot more interesting than that dumb princess, anyway.
This isn’t working.
Doesn’t look like it, pal. Try writing me into your awful story, then writing me out.
Then Princess Begonia met a ghost. “Hello,” it said.
“Hey, no ghosts allowed in the castle!” Princess Begonia cried.
“Oops, sorry. I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Which way is the door?”
“Right over there,” said Begonia, pointing at the door that went out of the story.
“Oh, my, yes. There it is. How convenient,” the ghost said. “Well, thank you, Little Miss No-Talent. I’ll just be on my way. Now that you’ve shown me an exit, I’m free to enter the real world, where I can have some real fun. Oh, and Shaughnessy? Look behind you.”
Analyst’s note: Witness statements reflect that Shaughnessy had been experiencing psych problems. Document indicates complete psychotic breakdown previous to suicide. Possible Dissociative Identity Disorder, but assuming that the document was written real-time, it is a unique manifestation. Typically, both personalities are unaware that they are the same person, but they do not alternate so rapidly as to be able to carry on a conversation.
This will require further investigation. Forwarding to university psych dept.